Mar 5, 2023

Monaco Increase Management driver’s Lirim Zendeli finished his first USF Pro 2000 weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida, with a solid fourth place in the second scheduled event on Sunday afternoon. Zendeli and his TJ Speed Motorsports team were able to overcome a number of difficulties, following a serious accident in Friday’s practice session, when the Albanian-German driver slipped off track and hit the barriers causing considerable damage. The team worked overnight to rebuild Zendeli’s #10 car around the monocoque, and the driver did his part by recovering a few positions in the first race to finish 16th, after starting from the back of the grid. Even so, Lirim proved that his pace was far better than the classification showed: his qualifying lap for Race Two could have earned him pole position, had it not been ruined by another driver who span rust ahead of him in the last sector. Nevertheless, Zendeli managed a good fourth spot on the grid of the second race. From there, he pulled away regularly at the start, and despite losing a position was able to keep a good pace which allowed him to attack and overtake team-mate Francesco Pizzi as the race restarted after a full course caution period. Pizzi did try to come back in the final stages of the 25-laps event but Zendeli was able to keep him behind and bring home a precious fourth place for himself, his team and MIM. The next rounds (3 and 4) of the USF Pro 2000 series are scheduled for March 23-26 in Sebring, the circuit that also hosted the official pre-season testing session.